The Gurkha trouser takes its name from Nepal’s elite soldiers of the same name, and the Gurkhas themselves derive their name from the Nepalese Kingdom of Gorkha. At the Gorkha military fort of Nalapani, the British military, in the form of the East India Company, came into conflict with the Gurkhas in around 1814, and their bravery and ferocity came as something of a shock. Armed with intricate knowledge of the terrain, superior stamina borne out of living most of their lives at high altitude, and complete fearlessness, the Gurkhas held out at Nalapani against a British force around six times their size until they had exhausted all food, water, and ammunition. Even then, they chose not to surrender, instead of fighting their way out of the surrounded fort and escaping into the hills.
The British eventually overwhelmed the Gurkhas through sheer numbers, and the Nepalese were forced to settle for peace with them at the end of the Anglo-Nepalese war. However, the British were so awed by the combat prowess of the Gurkhas that they created the highly unusual Treaty of Sugauli, which allows the British Army to recruit Gurkhas into their military to this day. The modern Gurkha recruitment program is known for being one of the world’s most brutal, famously including a 5km uphill run, which has to be completed with 25kg of sandbags strapped to the recruit’s head.
The Gurkha trouser was also borne out of this alliance - rooted in British military tradition but explicitly modified for use by the Nepalese. Its double-pleated front and high cummerbund-style waistband with buckle fastenings define the pant.
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